Micah Richards Hasn't Played For Aston Villa For 807 Days
You have to go as far back as October 2016 for Micah Richards, who has seen his career go downhill in recent years.
Richards burst onto the scene as a 17-year old at Manchester City, scoring a last-minute equaliser at Villa Park in an FA Cup tie and letting out an expletive in his post-match interview.
He went on to win the Premier League with Manchester City, was capped 13 times by England and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics.
Richards, who had offers from Arsenal and Chelsea back in the day, was a key man under Roberto Mancini in 2011/12 but persistent injury problems led to him being released by the club in 2015, following a loan spell with Fiorentina in Italy.
He signed for Villa on a free transfer and became the club's captain for the disappointing 2015/16 campaign, where he made 24 Premier League appearances as the Midlands club were relegated to the Championship.
But fast forward to the present day and Richards has not played for Villa for 807 days - his last appearance being Steve Bruce's first game in charge on 15 October 2016 against Wolves.
Richards was forced off with a calf injury and aside from a couple of behind-closed doors friendlies that he struggled to be motivated for, that's been his most recent involvement in a proper game.
Last season, he made the bench on against Middlesbrough in the early weeks of the Villa's Championship campaign but didn't enter the fray.
14. Do you remember Micah Richards? Well, you should. But the former City right-back now plays for Aston Villa - and he hasn't featured in a match for the club in MORE than 2 years. That's despite the fact that he has been fit to play. He still earns £35k-a-week.- Real Talk Manchester City :soccer: (@RealTalkMCFC) December 27, 2018
Ooh Micah :pensive: pic.twitter.com/c3Yj5L5LOE
Laurie Whitwell did a detailed report on Richard's situation in the Daily Mail in March 2018 and it was made clear the player is well-liked by the group at Villa.
"He's probably the nicest player I've worked with, the staff love him," a source told the Daily Mail.
"He is very popular, and always has a smile on his face."
It was also noted that the former England international does everything he is asked to do in training, even giving advice to the young players, but he knows every week that he won't be getting a game.
He was apparently particularly displeased over being left out of the squad to play Wigan in the Carabao Cup back in August 2017, when several bit-part players were involved.
Richards was widely expected to move on in the summer transfer window but nothing materialised and he stayed put.
Yet even with Dean Smith taking the reins at the club the 30-year old is still not considered for first-team selection and it is highly unlikely that will change in the near future.
Richards has six months remaining on his £35,000-a-week deal with the Villains and it seems as though the club's fans are just counting down the days until his contract expires.
A quite remarkable fall from grace from a Premier League winner and former England international.